Earth Day Special: How to Make Your Move Environmentally Friendly

It’s almost Earth Day and we at Sharespace want to remind you that there are ways to make everything you do more sustainable — including moving! When moving homes, people are often wasteful or unintentionally harm the environment with their choices. The tips ahead are here to stop you from running into these problems. Hopefully, this article help you reduce the amount of trash you produce while moving and point you to opt for make more eco-friendly choices as you settle into your new home! 

Replace boxes with bins or crates 

Boxes are without a doubt the most commonly used container for storing items while moving, but they have an extremely short lifespan. It’s not long after people settle into their new homes that the boxes get torn or worn out and end up in the trash. According to a New York Times article the United States produced 35.4 million tons of cardboard in 2014. That’s an enormous amount of trees, to put it lightly. 

One solution to using less cardboard when you move is to store your items in reusable bins or crates instead. They may be more expensive than boxes, but they will last you much longer & also do a better job preventing dust and the like getting into your things. They can be used to organize your belongings in your new home and they’ll most likely still be around for your next move. 

Recycle boxes 

If bins and crates aren’t for you, then you should at least make sure that you’re recycling the cardboard boxes that you use. This way, your temporary moving containers won’t be taking up space in landfills and you’ll help reduce the need for companies to use more trees to make new boxes. 

Avoid plastic packing materials 

While boxes may be recyclable many of the items that we put inside them — such as packing peanuts — usually are not. Styrofoam, the material that typically makes up packing peanuts, takes more than 500 years to decompose. Bubble wrap takes about 450-1000 years to decompose. While bubble wrap, unlike packing peanuts, is technically recyclable, it’s not accepted by curbside recycling programs and would need to instead be brought to a special facility. As you would probably expect, there’s not a lot of people willing to go to those lengths to recycle. A better alternative is to use everyday recyclable materials, like newspaper, to pack your fragile items. This way you won’t only be protecting your belongings, you’ll be protecting the environment too. 

Donate what you don’t need

It’s simply not possible to take every single one of your belongings with you when you move. As a result, you’ll probably have to part with many of your less valuable items as you make the switch to your new home. But think twice about throwing all the items you don’t want anymore in the trash. 

Instead, consider donating unwanted items to Goodwill or giving them to your friends. Not only will you be doing something kind by passing on your old clothes or furniture for free but you’ll also be reducing the amount of trash that you produce during your move. 

Choose an eco-friendly moving vehicle

Part of this tip has to do with the size of the vehicle you’re using. If you can afford to fit all your items in a friend’s Prius, then do that. It will be both cheaper and better for the environment. 

If you need a bit more space, however, it might be time to start researching eco-friendly moving services. Keep away from companies that use big, diesel-fueled trucks. Instead, opt for a service dedicated to using lower-emission vehicles. 

Dispose of your old technology safely 

Batteries, old computers, broken televisions — these aren’t things that you can just throw away. Many people use moving as an opportunity to purge their belongings or, in other words, get rid of that old electronic that’s been sitting in their closet for years. But putting tech items in a landfill can be toxic to the environment. Electronics contain many hazardous chemicals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium. When left in a landfill, these chemicals can leak into the outside environment and harm the surrounding animals and ecosystem. Instead, of throwing out old technology, bring it to your nearest e-waste disposal and recycling center to ensure that it’s handled responsibly, by professionals.